Most Thieves took to the stage at the Sound Academy on Saturday night to open for fellow Las Vegas natives and friends, the Killers. The Medium chatted with lead singer Eric Koch about Most Thieves’ compelling new record, their big sound, and their plans for the future.
The Medium: The album, Unnecessary Maps, has a sound that’s kind of grand. It reminded me a little bit of Bruce Springsteen or Arcade Fire. What were some acts that you listened to growing up that inspired that big sound?
Eric Koch: Growing up, Bruce Springsteen was definitely around when I was a kid—at least, some. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was around all the time when I was a kid, and I think that in what I use as a benchmark for a good song, they’re probably the band.
But I remember this experience of being in orchestra as a kid and going to the local high school and getting to play in this very large basketball auditorium. And as soon as we started playing, this gigantic reverb started. And that moment made a really impactful impression on me. Because it was magical-sounding. It was overwhelming. I think my musical career has been an attempt to get back to that sound, in a lot of ways.
TM: What’s the story behind the album’s title?
EK: On the record, there’s a lot of historical reference to maps and paths. And in my head, they’re kind of two different things. A map is a plan. And when you’re planning a trip, you say, “I’m going to go from this point to this point.” On a map, everything in a journey seems perfect. But anybody who has gone on any sort of adventure knows that plan is not going to work out. Ever. And if it does, it’s not much of an adventure. But when you’re on a path, you’re just following it. You don’t necessarily know where it’s going. You can’t see what’s up ahead, but you’ve got to get there. The nice thing about a path is that you always know where your next footstep is going to land.
So, part of the story of the record is learning to follow paths instead of maps. The title kind of came up one day as a joke about something else, and it just immediately stuck. [Most Thieves drummer] Rob [Whited] and I just kind of looked at each other and said, “Wow, I think that’s the record.”
TM: It was just announced that Most Thieves will play two Vegas gigs with the Killers at the end of the year. How does it feel to have the chance to play with your friends in your hometown?
EK: You couldn’t ask for a better way to wrap up the year. And it’s been a pretty amazing year anyway. So to be able to walk on stage in a place that we really love and to kind of warm up a hometown crowd for our friends who have been so supportive—it’s an honour. I don’t think that we’re going to get a whole lot of sleep in the next few months. It kind of feels like this really extended Christmas Eve.